Roles of Chaperone/Usher Pathways of Yersinia pestis in a Murine Model of Plague and Adhesion to Host Cells

Center for Infectious Diseases.
Infection and immunity (Impact Factor: 4.16). 07/2012; 80(10):3490-500. DOI: 10.1128/IAI.00434-12
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Yersinia pestis and many other Gram-negative pathogenic bacteria use the chaperone/usher (CU) pathway to assemble virulence-associated surface fibers termed pili or fimbriae. Y. pestis has two well-characterized CU pathways: the caf genes coding for the F1 capsule and the psa genes coding for the pH 6 antigen. The Y. pestis genome contains additional CU pathways that are capable of assembling pilus fibers, but the roles of these pathways in the pathogenesis of plague are not understood. We constructed deletion mutations in the usher genes for six of the additional Y. pestis CU pathways. The wild-type (WT) and usher deletion strains were compared in the murine bubonic (subcutaneous) and pneumonic (intranasal) plague infection models. Y. pestis strains containing deletions in CU pathways y0348-0352, y1858-1862, and y1869-1873 were attenuated for virulence compared to the WT strain by the intranasal, but not subcutaneous, routes of infection, suggesting specific roles for these pathways during pneumonic plague. We examined binding of the Y. pestis WT and usher deletion strains to A549 human lung epithelial cells, HEp-2 human cervical epithelial cells, and primary human and murine macrophages. Y. pestis CU pathways y0348-0352 and y1858-1862 were found to contribute to adhesion to all host cells tested, whereas pathway y1869-1873 was specific for binding to macrophages. The correlation between the virulence attenuation and host cell binding phenotypes of the usher deletion mutants identifies three of the additional CU pathways of Y. pestis as mediating interactions with host cells that are important for the pathogenesis of plague.

1 Bookmark
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although adhesion to host cells is a critical step in the delivery of cytotoxic Yop proteins by Yersinia pestis, the mechanism has not been defined. To identify adhesins critical for Yop delivery, we initiated two transposon mutagenesis screens using the mariner transposon. To avoid redundant cell binding activities, we initiated the screen with a strain deleted for two known adhesins, pH 6 antigen and the autotransporter, YapC, as well as the Caf1 capsule, which is known to obscure some adhesins. The mutants that emerged contained insertions within the ail (attachment and invasion locus) gene of Y. pestis. A reconstructed mutant with a single deletion in the ail locus (y1324) was severely defective for delivery of Yops to HEp-2 human epithelial cells and significantly defective for delivery of Yops to THP-1 human monocytes. Specifically, the Yop delivery defect was apparent when cell rounding and translocation of an ELK-tagged YopE derivative into host cells were monitored. Although the ail mutant showed only a modest decrease in cell binding capacity in vitro, the KIM5 Deltaail mutant exhibited a >3,000-fold-increased 50% lethal dose in mice. Mice infected with the Deltaail mutant also had 1,000-fold fewer bacteria in their spleens, livers, and lungs 3 days after infection than did those infected with the parental strain, KIM5. Thus, the Ail protein is critical for both Y. pestis type III secretion in vitro and infection in mice.
    Infection and immunity 01/2009; 77(2):825-36. DOI:10.1128/IAI.00913-08 · 4.16 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The abilities of Yersinia pestis to undergo restriction in Ca2+-deficient medium with concomitant production of V and W antigens (Vwa+) and to absorb exogenous pigments (Pgm+) are established virulence factors. Mutation of Y. pestis to Pgm- is known to promote resistance to pesticin (Pstr) and reduced lethality by peripheral routes of injection. Vwa+ Pgm- isolates of Y. pestis were shown in this study to retain virulence in mice when injected intravenously. Although Pgm- in appearance, wild-type cells of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and Yersinia enterocolitica may also be sensitive to pesticin. Pstr mutants of Vwa+ strains of these species were similarly of reduced virulence, especially by peripheral routes of injection. The consequences of mutation to Vwa- and Pgm- or Pstr on growth and persistence in vivo were determined. After intravenous injection, Vwa+ yersiniae of all species exhibited sustained growth in mouse spleen, liver, and lung and accumulated in blood. Septicemia was not observed after similar injection of Vwa- mutants which were unable to maintain comparable rates of net increase in tissues. Mutation to Pgm- or Pstr did not influence proliferation but resulted in enhanced clearance from organs. It is known that reticuloendothelial cells serve as favored sites of replication for all wild-type yersiniae. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the Vwa+ phenotype favors growth within macrophages and that the Pgm+ and pesticin-sensitive phenotypes permit long-term, probably extracellular, retention within organs. Virulence in standard animal models (mice, rats, and guinea pigs) was not correlated with resistance to the bactericidal action of serum.
    Infection and Immunity 04/1984; 43(3):895-900. · 4.16 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A variety of pathogenic bacteria use type III secretion pathways to translocate virulence proteins into host eukaryotic cells. YopE is an important virulence factor that is translocated into mammalian cells via a plasmid-encoded type III system in Yersinia spp. YopE action in mammalian cells promotes the disruption of actin filaments, cell rounding and blockage of phagocytosis. It was reported recently that two proteins with sequence similarity to YopE, SptP of Salmonella typhimurium and ExoS of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, function as GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) for Rho GTPases. YopE contains an 'arginine finger' motif that is present in SptP, ExoS and other Rho GAPs and is essential for catalysis by this class of proteins. We show here that a GST-YopE fusion protein stimulated in vitro GTP hydrolysis by the Rho family members Cdc42, RhoA and Rac1, but not by Ras. Conversion of the essential arginine in the arginine finger motif to alanine (R144A) eliminated the in vitro GAP activity of GST-YopE. Infection assays carried out with a Yersinia pseudotuberculosis strain producing YopER144A demonstrated that GAP function was essential for the disruption of actin filaments, cell rounding and inhibition of phagocytosis by YopE in HeLa cells. Furthermore, the GAP function of YopE was important for Y. pseudotuberculosis pathogenesis in a mouse infection assay. Transfection of HeLa cells with a vector that produces a constitutively active form of RhoA (RhoA-V14) prevented the disruption of actin filaments and cell rounding by YopE. Production of an activated form of Rac1 (Rac1-V12), but not RhoA-V14, in HeLa cells interfered with YopE antiphagocytic activity. These results demonstrate that YopE functions as a RhoGAP to downregulate multiple Rho GTPases, leading to the disruption of actin filaments and inhibition of bacterial uptake into host cells.
    Molecular Microbiology 09/2000; 37(3):515-27. DOI:10.1046/j.1365-2958.2000.02021.x · 5.03 Impact Factor


Available from